Drezner Denied

by Kieran Healy on October 8, 2005

Dan Drezner reports that he’s been “denied tenure”:http://www.danieldrezner.com/archives/002353.html at Chicago. I’m sorry to hear that, and a bit surprised. (It seems as though Dan was, too, which makes it worse for him.) My feeling is that Dan will quickly find another good job: it’s actually not uncommon in cases like this for the national market to disagree with the local decision. Best of luck for the future, Dan.

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01.21.06 at 7:09 am



Hektor Bim 10.08.05 at 10:59 pm

So, Sean Carrol and Dan Drezner both denied tenure. It seems blogging is bad for you, at least in tenure cases.


Seth Finkelstein 10.09.05 at 1:08 am

I’m vaguely reminded of George Carlin’s “Jesus made me fumble” joke. As he [Drezner] says, “who the hell knows?”.


John Quiggin 10.09.05 at 4:03 am

I notice that Dan mentions the possibility that he has published too much, something Harry discussed a little while ago.

Similarly, I’ve been told that, if I wanted to get a job in a top US econ department, I’d be well advised to delete most of my output from my resumé before I sent it in.

Out here on the far side of the world, the attitude is very different, thankfully, though I don’t know that either blogging or appearing in the mainstream media is an unqualified asset.


DavidH 10.09.05 at 7:07 am

Would it be naive to ask whether tenure is likely to actually mean life tenure in ten or twenty years time?

From the outside looking in, the structure of academia seems to be under assault at the moment and I wonder if the generalised tendency to invoke change for the sake of change will eventually bring down the tenure system. I have no particular views on the matter, but aren’t there people who believe tenure is an undeserved privilege? Somehow “undemocratic”?

Not that I’m suggesting Daniel Drezner should be happy about the decision.



Matt 10.09.05 at 8:15 am

As for whether blogging is bad for getting tenure I suspect that it will vary from dept. to dept. (perhaps even field to field) too much to make general statements. It’s worth noting, though, that Brian Weatherson got tenure while blogging, and Chris Bertram was promoted. I’m sure there are others. Just by looking at his CV Drezner’s case does seem to be a surprising one. In philosophy, though, you could probably make a top-five department just out of people who were denied tenure on their first time around.


otto 10.09.05 at 8:57 am

I like bloggers, and DD’s blog, and wish DD the best of luck – but can someone point me to the research that DD’s claim to tenure at Chicago based on? Not the number of articles per se, but say one article (or better, more) which is now an absolute must-read article for a graduate course in IR or IPE? That’s the sort of standard for tenure at a top US research university and one that other young IPErs like Hiscox at Harvard or Vreeland at Yale would, in my view, be able to satisfy.


gzombie 10.09.05 at 8:57 am

So, Sean Carrol and Dan Drezner both denied tenure. It seems blogging is bad for you, at least in tenure cases.

You can’t be serious. What percentage of total recent tenure decisions in all of academia do you think these two represent?


Ben Alpers 10.09.05 at 9:08 am

Am I the only one who feels vaguely uncomfortable about a public discussion of a tenure case the relevant details of which most (perhaps all) of us do not know?

It would be one thing if Dan Drezner initiated this conversation (as he did on his own site). But absent his endorsement of a public hashing out of his case at CrookedTimber, might the polite course of action be to express sympathy for him and then to give him a little space?


otto 10.09.05 at 12:17 pm

Maybe ben a. is right..


Dan Drezner 10.09.05 at 12:41 pm

I hereby endorse… er… hashing


save_the_rustbelt 10.09.05 at 12:51 pm

I’ve been a college lecturer most of my adult life, without having to worry about tenure (I make plenty of money in a specialty consulting practice).

Tenure is one of the most bizarre and corrupt processes I have ever seen.

Corrupt in the sense that the process is clearly spelled out in writing, but most of that is ignored in the politics of the department, college and university.

Teaching has almost nothing to do with tenure, despite what is written in the governance documents.

Dan will do fine, U.of C. and the students have lost.


RedWolf 10.09.05 at 1:26 pm

Blogging and fame are not basis for tenure and shouldn’t be. Too few researchers pay attention to real contribution. Most academics are flailing through a long and meaningless publication list. As an academic and a parent to somebody on the UC faculty, it seems that UC tends to look for “beef.”

Whether Dan Drezner delivered the beef, I simply don’t know.

As for tenure: it’s like democracy, both are bad systems but every other system is much worse.


Kieran Healy 10.09.05 at 2:13 pm

On reflection, having read Ben Alper’s comment, I’ve decided to close this thread. You can discuss it further on Dan’s blog if you like.

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